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Cyprus

Victory for FBME lawyers over access to documents

FBME was placed in administration in July 2014

FBME bank lawyers are allowed access to specific documents inside the bank, an interim ruling by the administrative court ordered on Wednesday.

FBME was placed in administration in July 2014 by the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC), after the Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a division of the US Treasury, designated the Tanzania-based bank as “of primary money-laundering concern” with links to Hezbollah.

Last December, the CBC revoked its banking licence, and ordered its liquidation.

Last February, FBME’s owners filed for an interim ruling on its appeal against the CBC decision, asking the court to order the CBC to allow access to an audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which includes the findings of the anti-money laundering audit it conducted along with FinCEN in 2014.

The lender’s owners also asked for the minutes of the resolution committee from July 2014 to date, as well as a revised liquidity report for FBME, and any correspondence by the CBC relating to FBME as of July 2014.

In its interim ruling, the administrative court said that “the anti-money laundering report and the correspondence mentioned in the request are documents relevant and necessary to affirm the legality of the action being appealed”.

“With regard to the rest of the listed documents, I don’t find that their relevance has been adequately demonstrated,” the judge said.

The court ordered the CBC to allow FBME’s lawyers access to the PwC report and any correspondence relating to the bank within seven days.

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